SAO PAULO – Brazil’s central bank will probably maintain a fast pace of interest rate cuts next week despite signs that an economic recovery is gaining traction, a poll showed on Friday.
All but one of 30 economists surveyed expect the central bank to cut its benchmark Selic rate by 100 basis points for a fourth straight time on Sept. 6.
That would be the eighth cut in a 600 basis-point easing cycle, making it the deepest in a decade. At 8.25 percent, the Selic rate would be at the lowest level since July 2013.
The dissenting forecaster expects a more conservative 75 basis-point reduction bringing the rate to 8.50 percent.
Falling interest rates should help to consolidate recent improvements in consumer spending and the labor market, which lifted second-quarter gross domestic product growth above market expectations.
With inflation holding near 18-year lows and far below the bottom of the central bank’s target range, policymakers should have plenty of space for further accommodation, economists said. Still, some expect this month’s rate cut to be the last of its magnitude in the current cycle.
“In a way, the dynamics of domestic demand reduce the urgency for the central bank to take excessive risks and cut rates super aggressively,” Goldman Sachs economist Alberto Ramos said in a Friday interview.
“They can continue cutting, of course, but now the economy is showing signs of recovery.”
Several economists have raised their 2017 growth forecasts in recent weeks after a string of surprisingly strong economic reports, including a half dozen banks that updated their outlook after Friday’s second-quarter data.
A faster-than-expected decline in unemployment, which peaked in the first quarter, may also give the central bank pause, although the improvement owed mainly to gains in off-the-books employment.
Central Bank President Ilan Goldfajn told this month that the labor market was recovering faster than anticipated, but that should not keep the bank from cutting rates.
Economists at Itaú Unibanco expect the central bank to signal in its policy statement that it may reduce the pace of rate cuts in October. They forecast two further 50 basis-point declines this year followed by a 25 basis-point cut, which would bring the Selic rate to an all-time low of 7 percent.